A few months ago, while I was in Vienna, I did a private tour with a lovely woman named Lisa who has studied Freud extensively. It was a cold rainy day, but that didn’t stop us from doing a 2-hour walking tour and having fascinating conversations along the way.
I was so excited about this tour because after I watched A Dangerous Method I was even more intrigued to find out how Freud built a name for himself and became a global household name in the study of psychology and human behavior.
Before I get into the topic of Freud’s views on female sexuality here are a few fun facts about Freud that you may not know:
Fun Facts About Freud
- Sigmund Freud was an Austrian neurologist and the founder of psychoanalysis.
- Freud was not originally interested in psychology, and initially intended to become a scientist. He even spent several years working in a physiology laboratory before deciding to pursue a career in medicine.
- Despite his later fame as a psychoanalyst, Freud was not a very successful therapist early in his career. He struggled to find patients and often had difficulty getting them to follow his treatment methods.
- Freud was not always taken seriously by the scientific community. Many of his peers rejected his theories, and his work was often ridiculed or ignored.
- He developed the concept of the “psychoanalytic cure,” in which patients would lie on a couch and free associate about their thoughts and feelings while a therapist listened.
- Freud’s work also had an impact on literature, film, art, and popular culture.
- According to Lisa (the guide) Austrians don’t like Freud because of his controversial views.
- He was a prolific writer and published many books and articles on a wide range of topics, including the interpretation of dreams, sexuality, and the psychology of everyday life.
Freud’s Theories on Female Sexuality
I remember years ago when I was learning about Freud, Carl Jung and many other pioneers in the space of sexuality, I came across an article that criticized Freuds views on female sexuality.
According to Freud, female sexuality is characterized by what he referred to as “penis envy.” This term refers to the belief that women feel a sense of inadequacy or inferiority due to their lack of a penis, and that this feeling drives their desire for a man and for motherhood.
Freud believed that this desire is rooted in the psychoanalytic concept of the Oedipus complex, which states that children (both male and female) initially experience sexual desire for their opposite-sex parent.
In the case of girls, this desire is eventually repressed and redirected towards other men, but the feelings of inadequacy and desire for a penis remain.
Freud also believed that female sexuality was marked by a lack of focus on the clitoris and a greater focus on the vagina. He believed that the vagina was the “mature” and “normal” way for women to experience sexual pleasure, while clitoral pleasure was seen as “immature” and “infantile.”
Thankfully this view has been heavily criticized and today we know this is absolutely not true, because so many pioneers like Betty Dodson, Masters and Johnson, OMGYES, to name a few have disproved his theory, but you have to give it to Frued for making such a bold statement, despite not having the same anatomy as a woman.
Despite his controversial views on female sexuality, Freud’s work has had a significant impact on the way that we understand and approach the subject today.
While Freuds ideas have been heavily criticized and revised over the years, his work remains a significant contributor to our understanding of human psychology and behavior.